C4 urges procurement reforms amid Selangor mobility contract controversy

KUALA LUMPUR: The government must urgently enact procurement reforms to overcome dangers of conflict of interest and lack of transparency, says the Centre to Combat Corruption and Cronyism (C4 Centre).

It said this in response to the recent issue surrounding the awarding of a pilot phase project by the Selangor government to Asia Mobility Technologies Sdn Bhd (Asia Mobiliti), a company run by Youth and Sports Minister Hannah Yeoh's husband, Ramachandran Muniandy.

"C4 Centre is dismayed that the head of the country’s primary anti-graft body could have such a dismissive view on a matter that raises serious questions of misgovernance and conflict of interest.

"Regardless of whether the Youth and Sports Ministry is involved, the fact remains that Yeoh holds a position as a prominent figure within DAP – and by extension Pakatan Harapan.

C4 said that the controversy was further compounded by the absence of an open tender for the appointment and disagrees with the statement by Asia Mobiliti claiming it would cause "a monopoly in the state."

"By its very nature, an open tender process encourages competition and openness in the procurement process," it said in a statement on Wednesday (May 29).

C4 also took to task Selangor executive councillor for investment, trade and mobility Ng Sze Han for failing to furnish any details pertaining to the list of criteria relevant to the approval.

"Though the Federal Government has shown a willingness to enact this piece of legislation (Government Procurement Act), the recent saga has laid bare the glaring need for any proposed law to be enforced in a manner that is effective in both federal and state governments. Without a clear grievance procedure in the procurement system, cases such as this will continue to raise suspicions of conflict of interest," it said.

On May 24, Ng issued a statement on the awarding of the project.

Ng explained that Asia Mobiliti, founded in 2018, was appointed in October last year to provide Demand-Responsive Transit (DRT) services because it had the necessary credentials.

He said two companies – Asia Mobility and Badan Bas Coach Sdn Bhd – were given the nod by the Land Public Transport Agency to run the services when the state initiated the DRT pilot project.

C4 Centre said this issue has exposed the need for Malaysia to consider a legal framework to regulate conflicts of interest.

"There must then be full disclosure provided to the public for any proceedings flagged as having conflicts, allowing for better transparency, and easing future investigations," it added.

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